The Brian Sutherby Era Begins

One could probably forgive the Caps for not showing up tonight. Less than twelve hours removed from having two respected veterans (and regular starters) traded away, one would expect the Caps' overall game to be affected, both by mental anguish and the daunting prospect of a short roster trying to plug several holes. And for the first eight minutes, that was exactly the case for Washington.

And then Glen Hanlon finally, mercifully, released the hounds. Let the record show that, over the final 52 minutes of play, the Capitals outscored the Panthers 5-2 and mostly dominated just about every aspect of the game. They looked a little bit like the team that reeled off a 7-1-1 streak in November and December. Heck, they looked a little bit like a playoff team at times. And why? Because when a team is trailing by three goals, that team doesn't get to play anything even resembling the trap. Which means the players were finally able to play the type of game most of them are best suited to play: a high-energy, aggresive forecheck combnied with Ovechkin and Semin freelancing and creating chances. The result? Five goals. Most of them as a result of good offensive zone pressure (on the power play, no less!).

In the standings, this game will be recorded as a loss, but as far as I'm concerned, it is very much a win. Partly because I have long since taken to regarding shootout games as ties in my head, and partly because, for the first time in almost a month, the team wearing black at the Verizon Center were the real Capitals again. The crazy fellow behind me said many things tonight regarding trades, George McPhee, the general direction of the team and so on, and for the most part, he was none to bright, but I have to agree with him on one thing. The Caps may want to consider whether or not Glen Hanlon is really the guy to take them to the next level. His insitence on playing a trapping defense in February seriously hindered this team, and tonight is proof of what might have been if he had let this team do what it was meant to do.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, I am fully aware that one game is not a large enough sample size to coming to sweeping conclusions such as "Fire Hanlon!' I also do not particularly care. I am also aware that giving the offense more free reign would not have particularly helped the team in the long term, but dammit I want to see Ovechkin win the Richard Trophy. It was really the only thing any of us had to look forward to.)

Recaps From People That Matter:
-A View From the Cheap Seats
-Alex Ovetjkin
-Capital Fanatic
-Off Wing Opinion
-On Frozen Blog

1 comment:

CapsChick said...

I was there last night, too - section 111. I can't believe I didn't see you! (Although you were probably close enough to hear my stepmother...if you happened to catch the strains of a crazy woman yelling "Let's Go CAAAAAAAAAPS", um, that was her.)